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Worthing College maths students take part in 14-hour international maths challenge

15 March 2024

Worthing College maths students are celebrating after completing a 14-hour international maths challenge this month.

A group of eight AS Further Maths students took part in the MathWorks Math Modelling Challenge on Saturday 2 March until Sunday 3 March.

This year’s theme saw students applying their skills and mental sharpness in aid of the housing supply and homelessness in Manchester and Brighton, with the team of four (Sam Elphick, Evan Woods, Brihanna Nichol and Tanzeem Rahman) leveraged Python and MATLAB to forecast values for housing supply and homelessness, while the second team (Stevie Clark, Gemma Hoare, Amelie Montagner and Daniel Ford) decided to use  Excel‘s plotting and graphing tools as well as matrix calculations to help make their predictions.

Sam Elphick said: “It was definitely challenging but working through it as a team, each of us having different roles in creating our solution, definitely gave us a sense of how what we study can be used in the real world.

“We also became much better friends in the process too! Our submissions are now being judged and the best teams will be invited to the New York finals, so we have our fingers crossed!”

The competition saw students use research and brainstorming to evaluate data, develop models and find answers about the future housing availability, as well as the growing number of homeless people, with the goal to support governments and communities to make plans for the next several decades.

Dr. Karen Bliss, Senior Manager of Education and Outreach at SIAM said: “The cost of housing in the U.S. and the U.K. has increased faster than people’s incomes, making rent or mortgage payments challenging for many.

“This issue is often due to a shortage of available housing, which has reached crisis levels and has been associated with a significant increase in homelessness in many large cities.”

Submissions will be marked by a panel of mathematicians, who will select six finalists from across the U.S, England, and Wales and award finalist teams all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to participate in the competition’s final judging event, which will take place on April 29.

37 awards will be given as scholarship prizes, with the champion team receiving $20,000.